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tv   Weekends With Alex Witt  MSNBC  February 8, 2015 9:00am-11:01am PST

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ring ring!... progresso! it's ok that your soup tastes like my homemade. it's our slow simmered vegetables and tender white meat chicken. apology accepted. i'm watching you soup people. make it progresso or make it yourself stormy weather on both coasts in the west. heavy rains and severe flooding. here in the northeast, another potential historic downfall. details from both sides of the country coming up next. and one-time olympic hero and reality tv star bruce jenner involved in a deadly car crash in california. new details on the apparent chain reaction collision. 40 days of dating. a new book takes a look at an experiment between two friends, how it all ended up might surprise you. hello, everyone.
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i'm ayman mohyeldin. alex is off today. it's high noon in the east 9:00 in the west. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." developing news at this hour. another winter storm under way right now that could dump as much as two feet of snow in new england again. albany, new york got an early taste of what forecasters are calling a long-duration storm. snow is expected to intensify later today and could last through tuesday. meanwhile, boston is still digging out from last week's storm that dropped two feet of snow on the region. on the west coast, though it's a different story. they need row boats, not shovels. the pineapple express is wreaking havoc on the pacific northwest. the weather system has caused major flooding. mud slides and power outages in washington and oregon california and nevada. the weather channel's mike seidel is in boston. good morning to you. what will boston do with another two feet of snow there, mike? >> reporter: they're going to have to try to figure out
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somewhere to put it, ayman. they've been taking it out to the snow farm in the seaport area. they have a snow melter that takes care of about 300,000 tons an hour. this is what we have from two storms. almost two weeks ago it was over 24 inches. last week it was 16.2. they've tried to dig out the city the best they can. we still see trucks coming by where they've actually, you know, put it in the trucks and hauled. back down to the snow farm. we've had some light snow this morning. it snowed harder earlier. we have picked up four inches. look at the map. we're going to see a lot more snow here in new england. generally along the interstate 90 corridor. rochester, albany into the berkshires and into boston you're looking at 18 maybe another 24 inches of snow. and this is a long-duration event, as you mentioned. this goes all the way until tuesday morning. it's already impacted flights at logan airport. so far today, 12 departures and 65 flights coming in have been canceled. that's not too many. tomorrow they've already
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canceled 87 departures. that's 20% of their outbound flights tomorrow. those numbers will go up. as far as new york city, northern jersey the poconos, if you have any issues there, it's going to be some freezing rain later tonight and tomorrow morning. by far all the snow stays upstate new york and in southern new england, up to portland and across parts of vermont and new hampshire. and heads up more snow here on thursday. then everybody in the northeast by the end of the week will get into the coldest air probably so far this winter. high temperatures here in boston will struggle to get much above 10 degrees. >> the weather channel's mike seidel in boston. mike, thank you very much for that. now to the pacific northwest. the region is getting soaked by the so-called pineapple express. the nasty weather hammered three states and triggered floods and mudslides. nbc's miguel almaguer is in brinnon, washington, with more on this story. >> reporter: ayman, this small town 30 miles outside of seattle
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was battered by wild weather for three days. as you can see here, roads were washed away rivers are rushing, and now more wet weather is on the way. first hammered by rain then swamped in three feet of water. the community of brinnon is now caked in mud. the flood is receding, but the damage is not. >> each time we have one of these flood events i need to get this silt off my driveway or else it ends up in my house. >> reporter: after flash flooding trapped ten people here, this water-logged region is expected to get even more rain today. >> we're surrounded by it. >> reporter: small landslides have pushed mud on to roads and even forced amtrak to suspend some service. the west whipped by the pineapple express, an atmospheric river dumping rain from washington to california. >> never seen it like this before. i walk here every day. it's just crazy. >> reporter: overnight saturday
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sloppy sleet made roads rough along i-80 near lake tahoe. sheets of water and bolts of lightning in sacramento. in the bay area trees toppled on to roads and even impaled cars. for liz and her daughter vanessa, it doesn't get closer than this. >> vanessa said she felt something go through her hair and now that i'm looking at it how lucky was that? >> reporter: with the cleanup under way in so many community, the pineapple express is almost over. we are expecting to see the last of the wet weather by monday. ayman? >> thank, miguel. to the middle east now. today, jordan's king abdullah said he ordered commanders to prepare for an increased role in the war on isis. they've launched 56 air strikes on isis targets. now the united arab emirates is sending a squadron of f-16 fighter jets to jordan to join the fight. its air force has been grounded
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since december, citing security concerns. today, britain's prince charles met with king abdullah. earlier, the prince visited the massive refugee camp home to more than 80,000 people displaced by the syrian civil war. on this morning's "meet the press," secretary of state john kerry argued that the now six months of air strikes are taking their toll on isis. >> 22% of the populated areas that they held have been taken back already. that's without launching what we would call a major offensive. we have taken out a significant proportion of the top leadership of isis. their command and control facilities have been attacked. >> joining me now from istanbul is nbc's chief foreign correspondent richard engel. good afternoon to you. secretary of state john kerry says the air campaign is, in fact working. i know you were out on the front lines. what are you seeing? what do you think this increased role from jordan might possibly
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look like? >> reporter: well i think the results so far of the war on isis are mixed. the air campaign is making a difference. clearly isis fighters and isis commanders are being killed. isis infrastructure is being destroyed. but a lot of new recruits are still coming into the fight. and the major question about the ground offensive is still unanswered. there are not many allies who are fighting shoulder to shoulder on the ground against isis. mostly it is just this campaign by remote control, by drones, and fighter jets we've seen over the last couple days an increased role from jordan in that campaign. but we went out with some kurdish fighters in northern iraq in the autonomous region of kurdistan. these are very close u.s. allies. they are fighting. they are loyal. and they were telling us not
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just the fighters, their top leaders were telling us inging us that they don't have the supplies they need to effectively fight against isis. >> officials in washington are always praising the kurds. so are you saying that despite all of this praise the help isn't coming to the kurds? >> we are grateful for the air strikes, but in terms of the ground support that we need, we haven't received that. praising is good. we also see ourselves as trusted allies with the united states and the free world. but fighting needs more than just praising. it needs guns. it needs weapons. >> and that's what you need? >> that's what we need. >> and if you don't get it what happens? >> we will fight as much as we can. we are not going to give up or surrender to isis. but it will be a much difficult war, and unfortunately many more
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lives will be lost. >> reporter: it's quite striking to have such a senior kurdish official, and that official i was speaking to is the head of kurdistan's national security council, being quite critical of the united states. he says he is appreciative that there have been air strikes. he's been appreciative of all the praise that has been showered upon him from white house, the members of congress, and other officials in washington, but as he said does not change the tide of the battle. >> richard, i was wondering if you got a sense from the kurdish officials you spoke to there why they feel they're not getting more of this military support, these heavy guns that they want to fight isis. >> reporter: they don't think it is a logistical problem. they don't think that this is just a bureaucratic hangup. they think washington is trying to thread a very small needle hole and that washington is
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trying to balance quite a contradictory strategy of placating baghdad, helping the central government in baghdad, and the u.s. has military advisers in baghdad and is sending weapons to baghdad to try and rebuild the iraqi army which collapsed which allowed isis to become the major international problem that it is today. but while the u.s. is helping baghdad, they are also helping the kurds. the kurds want to break away from baghdad. the kurds think this is the inherent contradiction, that the u.s. is trying to have it both ways. try to help baghdad to a degree and help the kurds to a degree but not enough that they would be in a position to break away from baghdad. so in a certain sense, the united states is backing both sides or backing two contradictory, opposing sides against isis. and it seldom works in conflicts, ayman, as you know,
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when you're trying to arm and back two opposing forces. >> richard engel, thank you very much for that reporting. stay safe my friends. back here in the states in california, where police are investigating a deadly car crash involving bruce jenner. police say the olympic gold medalist and reality tv star was behind the wheel of an suv involved in a crash that killed one one woman and injured seven others. >> well, it happened along the pacific coast highway in malibu. we're told jenner wasn't injured, by police are still investigating to see exactly what caused that chain-reaction crash. pictures from the pacific coast highway show a horrific scene. a white lexus, its front end crumbled still smoking. glass smashed. nearby, a familiar face. bruce jenner walks around the car as others try to help the victim still inside. it happened just after noon on saturday. according to the california highway patrol four cars were
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involved including jenner's cadillac escalade towing a dune buggy at time. police say traffic was moving slowly when jenner's escalade rear ended the white lexus, which hit the car in front of it and spun or veered into oncoming traffic, killing the driver of the lexus. the crash closed the iconic california highway for several hours. jenner can be seen picking up pieces of his suv after the crash. >> he fully cooperated with the investigation, did not appear to be under the influence, and performed a field sobriety test without any problem. he also volunteered to provide a blood sample to prove or disprove whether there's any alcohol or intoxicants in his bloodstream. >> police deny reports the paparazzi may have been to blame, but it is the latest tabloid fodder for the former olympian, now a fixture as the father on "keeping up with the kardashians." >> we're hearing the entire family is rallying around bruce
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right now. >> in recent months photographers have dogged jenner amid reports he's transitioning to live as a woman. his long hair and painted fingernails often pictured in the tabloids. >> bruce is making headlines every day. this could not come at a worse time for him. we're hearing he's just devastated. >> now, there have been no charges. police say jenner passed that field sobriety test. they'll be looking at the cell phone records of all the drivers to see if anyone was texting or on the phone at that point. a rep for jenner would only say he was not injured. and even though police are saying it doesn't appear jenner was doing any evasive maneuvers to outrun the paparazzi, i can tell you they were there. they have pictures of the exact moment of impact. they also have that video taken afterwards. what struck me is that they're filming it instead of rushing in to help that woman. >> kristen dahlgren, thank you very much for that report. now to the passing of one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time. former north carolina legend
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dean smitsh last night. at the time of his retirement he was the winningest coach in history. he coached his team to two national championships. one of those teams starred michael jordan. smith coached from 1961 to 1997. he was awarded the presidential medal of freedom in 2013. dean smith was 83 years old. and a note today about nbc's brian williams. he is stepping away temporarily from the "nbc nightly news" desk. in a statement, williams says it has become apparent i am presently too much a part of the news surrounding questions of his version of events while covering the iraq war. lester holt will fill in for williams. new voices today are calling for benjamin netanyahu to postpone his speech on capitol hill. this as some congress members say they're not going to show up for the speech. new reaction just ahead. in the northeast, bracing for another potential historic
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storm already in boston. it's snowing and it may not stop until tuesday. we'll continue to follow the big storm. if you're running a business legalzoom has your back. over the last 10 years we've helped one million business owners get started. visit legalzoom today for the legal help you need to start and run your business. legalzoom. legal help is here. how much money do you have in your pocket right now? i have $40 $21. could something that small make an impact on something as big as your retirement? i don't think so. well if you start putting that towards your retirement every week and let it grow over time, for twenty to thirty years that retirement challenge might not seem so big after all. ♪ ♪ do you have something for pain? i have bayer aspirin. i'm not having a heart attack, it's my back. i mean bayer back & body. it works great for pain. bayer back & body provides effective relief for your tough pain.
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new focus today on whether members of the militant group isis are operating here in the united states. in a new interview this morning, department of homeland security secretary jeh johnson said it's less of a concern than it is elsewhere. >> the numbers that we see are larger in european countries. that's one of the reasons why we're concerned about travel to and from europe and making sure that we've got the appropriate security assurances from countries for which we do not require a visa. but here at home we do a pretty good job of tracking these individuals. >> nbc's kristen welker is at the white house. kristen, it was a wide-ranging interview. what else did the homeland
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security secretary have to say? >> it was, ayman. secretary johnson's other key focus, pressing lawmakers to fund dhs, to pass legislation that would keep dhs fully funded. dhs runs out of funding at the end of the month. and republicans want to attach amendments to any legislation that would essentially block president obama's immigration executive action. of course, they have long argued that the president overstepped his authority by passing that executive action. the president has been adamant he would veto any legislation that tried to block him in that regard. today secretary johnson said that if dhs is not funded by the end of the month, it could be a threat to national security. take a listen to what he had to say. >> i'm on the hill every day stressing the importance of a fully funded department of homeland security separate and apart from riders to try to defund our efforts to defund the immigration system. do people in congress want to have that debate about immigration reform? let's have that debate but
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don't tie that to funding public safety at homeland security for the american people. >> now democrats are calling for a clean bill to keep dhs fully funded. today republican senator ted cruz said it was democrats who were being irresponsible, but he also acknowledged that this legislation probably isn't the best place to work out differences over immigration. this continues to be a big fight, ayman. a lot of pressure on both sides to keep dhs funded for all of the reasons that you just heard secretary johnson lay out. ayman, back to you. >> kristen welker live at the white house, thank you. today jordan is taking a small victory lap after three days of air strikes against isis. 56 in total. the head of the jordanian air force says they've achieved their goals. and in an interview this morning, general john allen, the special u.s. envoy on isis argumented that as daunting as an enemy as isis is he's actually seeing an impact. >> isil is at an entirely different level an al qaeda was.
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>> are they harder to find now? they have adapted. >> they have. and we expected that would be the case. you don't see the long convoys now with flags flying in broad daylight. but we have also adapted our targeting process as well. >> joining me now is retired four-star general barry mccaffery and msnbc military analyst who served as division commander in the first iraq war. sir, good to see you. we heard this morning, general, from general allen and earlier secretary of state john kerry. but then we also heard from the kurds, who are saying they're barely hanging on and are desperate for more support. what's the honest picture of how successful this war has been going so far? >> well i think it was a terrific report by richard engel. it really goes to the heart of the matter. the central government in baghdad is not going to support the kurds, period. so our attempt to work through them, the central government, and get support to the peshmerga isn't working.
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is it seems to me essential we support the frontline states that will fight. jordan for sure and the kurds for sure. obviously, you know, when it comes to direct military action we're doing fairly well. isis made a terrible mistake massing around this town of kobani, where u.s. air force and naval air could really pound them. so we're probably doing as well as we can, but we have to arm and equip the people on the ground. >> king abdullah said he ordered his commanders for an increased military role. what do you expect that to look like? realistically, are we talking boots on the ground from jordan or other countries? >> well, i can't imagine. the jordanian armed forces are first rate. their intelligence services are good. i can't imagine them unilaterally taking on a deep-strike role in either iraq or syria. i think that's probably off the table. i think the jordanian jordanianss
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understand they're internally overwhelmed by syrian and iraqi refugees. so they're in a very perilous shaky situation. i'd be surprised if they don't take a far more muscular role in terms of both intelligence covert operations and special operations backed up by robust use of their air power, which is extremely good. the rest of the allies not so much. what are the saudis actually doing? what are the gulf coast states doing? where's turkey? all this a sunni muslim nation. they're really not engaged. uae stopped flying because the jordanians had lost one pilot. this is not exactly the battle of britain kind of stuff we're talking about. >> general, let's switch gears a little and talk about the war in ukraine. european leaders came out against this plan to send lethal military u.s. said. they say it will just provoke
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russian president vladimir putin. should the u.s., in your opinion, send lethal aid to help the ukrainian government? >> without question. i think we're well late in the process. arguably crimea was a more difficult case a russian-speaking area vital russian national security interests at stake, and even history may have been largely on the russian side. when it comes to rearranging the boundaries of europe though the russians are a clear, present danger to the baltic states, pole land, and elsewhere. the right of self-defense is fundamental to a sovereign nation. we should support the ukrainians on self-defense. we don't have vital national security interests at stake, and we don't have military power we can bring to bear. but without the support of the french and the germans, this is going to come to naught also. >> general, in his interview this morning secretary of state john kerry said there is no military solution to ukraine. we've heard that time and time again from the white house on
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issues like syria and iraq despite the air strikes. first of all, do you think president obama really believes that sentiment? second have we see the diplomatic solution succeed anywhere? >> look there is never a diplomatic solution where the military equation is on the other side. it just never happens in history. if the russians are sure they can win with their own forces inside the ukraine, fighting along with separatists, and if there's no pushback from either the international community or effective military response from ukrainians, they won't stop. and the next question will be estonia estonia, latvia, poland. so it seems to me again, a huge mistake to not give the ukrainians the tools to defend themselves. >> general barry mccaffery, thank you very much for joining us. >> good to be with you. new york city is on a list of the top tourist destinations in the world, but where does it
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time for now a quick and tidy number ones. first, a gallop poll with a look at america's leanings. mississippi is the most conservative state with 48% of residents identifying themselves as such. alabama as second most conservative. louisiana, third most. on the liberal side of things massachusetts leads the way with slightly more than 30% being liberal. vermont and hawaii round out the top three left-leaning states. new york city ranks seventh on the international list of the world's top destination cities but it's the only u.s. city to make the top-ten list. hong kong is number one with 25.5 million tourists in 2013. singapore ranks second with 22.5 million. bangkok received more than 17 million visitors. prepare to be teamworked!
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uh-oh. >> and it looks like the new "spongebob" movie sequel will knock "american sniper" out of the top spot at the box office. and those are your number ones. the legion of super fans. wow! [ narrator ] on a mission to get richard to his campbell's chunky soup. it's new chunky beer-n-cheese with beef and bacon soup. i love it. and mama loves you. ♪ ♪
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one. alright, so this tylenol arthritis lasts 8 hours, but aleve can last 12 hours... and aleve is proven to work better on pain than tylenol arthritis. so why am i still thinking about this? how are you? aleve, proven better on pain. welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." i'm ayman mohyeldin. we're following developing news on the weather front this afternoon. another winter storm is under way right now, and it could dump as much as two feet of snow on already snow-covered new england. southern maine could see pulses of heavy snow over the next two days. boston has seen nearly four feet of snow over the past couple weeks already. alex wallace from the weather channel joins us with more. where can we expect more snow to fall, alex? >> well, good sunday to you, ayman. as we continue to follow our winter storm impacting us here in the northeast cold air that's locked in place.
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we'll see this system sliding its way slowly as it works its way towards the east coast. eventually it works off the coast, but it'll spread moisture in, and where we have that cold air in place, that's where we'll see the snow. watch out parts of pennsylvania up through new england. more snow to pile on to what we've already seen. let's take you through and show you the timing of how it all works out. more snow in some of these spots along that new york state throughway. the mass pike as well. northern p.a. into even new york city freezing rain could become an issue. then we'll keep that snow going again. generally north of pennsylvania. that's where we'll keep the snow ongoing. these are some of the spots that could see a foot to a foot and a half of additional snow. we're sick and tired of it. if you want to beat it head to the middle of the country. these are some areas enjoying warmth. spring fever in some spot including denver today into tomorrow. back to you. >> thanks alex. that was the weather channel's alex wallace. new today, a statement is expected in a matter of hours from a spokesperson for the family of kayla mueller. she's a 26-year-old american and
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aide worker who's been held contactive by isis militants in syria since august 2013. isis claiming mueller was killed in an air strike by jordanian aircraft. u.s. officials have not confirmed the isis claim. joe fryer has our report from mueller's hometown of prescott arizona. >> reporter: here in prescott there's skepticism over claims by isis that kayla mueller was killed in a jordanian air strike. u.s. officials say they've seen no proof. >> i just hope that, you know, it could bssible that she's still alive. >> reporter: muleeller's parents say, this news leaves us concern kd but we're still hopeful kayla is still alive. in a statement to her captors, say said we have sent you a private message, asking you respond to us privately. her safety and well being remains your responsibility.sibility. >> i'm sure the family is
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reeling for answers, and the community as well. >> reporter: mueller was kidnapped in august 2013. according to the aid group doctors without borders, she had just left one of its hospitals in syria and was headed to a bus station in aleppo to travel back to turkey when she was captured. her college professor remembers her. >> she was not naive. she was a fully informed scholar and activist and walked in with eyes wide open. >> i am in solidarity with the syrian people. >> reporter: mueller's passionate about helping people of the syrian civil war, telling her hometown newspaper, for as long as i live i will not let this suffering be normal. her compassion has deeply touched this community, which is why today so many are praying for kayla. >> that's nbc's joe fryer reporting from prescott arizona. again, we expect a statement from a mueller family spokesperson sometime this afternoon. israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu is facing new
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calls to cancel his planned speech before congress next month. the latest to join the national director of the antihf-defamation league. according to the huffington post, the group's director says the controversy surrounding the speech isn't helpful, saying quote, it has been hijacked by politics, now it is a time to recalibrate, restart, and find a new platform, a new timing to take away the distractions. this comes as a growing number of democrats say they'll skip the speech. and as vice president joe booid listen now be traveling abroad when netanyahu addresses congress. let's bring in lauren fox, who covers congress for "the national journal" and "washington post" political reporter philip. how much of a dilemma are democrats -- you know what it comes to attending the speech how much of a dilemma are democrats facing? >> foreign policy has traditionally be this area where republicans and democrats can join together and sit in a room and listen to a speech. but of course the way that the
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speech occurred with house speaker john boehner directly contacting israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu and inviting him without telling the white house, i think that's added and injected a dose of politics. we should also add that netanyahu is up for re-election and this is a off totough time for him as well. so there's politics on both sides of the ocean here. >> philip do you see a scenario where speaker boehner would cancel or even possibly postpone this speech? >> i doubt it. i mean i think that of those two options, post moanponement is more likely. i would not be surprised if something came up where all the sudden the speech got canceled. i doubt anyone is going to fall on the sword and say this is a bad idea. the idea politics has suddenly been injected into this as the statement you just read said i think is something of a misrepresentation. this was born and bred in politics, both politics by the republican members of the mouse as well as by mr. netanyahu, who as was noted is running for
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re-election. he's facing calls at home as well, which are challenging his attendance of this speech, saying in part this may damage the relationship between the united states and israel simply by virtue of the fact it's become so contentious. >> lauren i want to switch gears to a potential shutdown we're facing at the department of homeland security. a lot of people are blaming senator ted cruz. here's what he said this morning. >> if you'll recall, i fought tooth and nail against the control any bus in december because i said in december this gives up our leverage and it puts us into effect i havely a boxed canyon. so i would say it's now up to leadership to lay out their strategy. i told them this was not a winning strategy, and they went down this road anyway, fighting tooth and nail. >> i mean in short, does he have a point? >> well i think that what we've seen is the senate republicans are in a tough spot here. they voted three times on the
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same piece of legislation. they could not break the democrats' filibuster. we're heading into this week we have one more week while they're here, and february 27th we run out of dhs funding. i think that certainly there's going to be a problem with passing something on time. it's certainly going to be up to leadership, but senate leaders are saying they can't do anything more, it's up to the house. and house speaker john boehner is saying good luck, we've done our job, and now we're looking to you, senate. >> philip, what's the republican end game here? >> the thing that strikes me about this that's so amusing is we literally went through this same thing in october of 2013 where ted cruz said no we have to stand by our commitment here and john boehner saying well it's the democrats' fault, they're not passing this thing. that's what led to the government shutdown. it's pretty amazing the extent to which this actually lines up. so to answer your question i think that the end game is capitulation. they end up passing a bill that funds dhs, they'll have other
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bites at this apple later on with other funding bills. but it is i think, not unintentional that this mirrors 2013 so much. i think this is the republicans saying, you know what we overstated the damage that was done there, and now they're willing to do this exact same playbook again. >> philip and lauren i'm sure we're not be hearing the end of this ongoing debate in washington. thank you both for joining us this afternoon. >> thank you. it's america's longest war, so why did it last so long? the architect of the u.s. invasion of afghanistan has written an account of the early days of the war. he joins us next.
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officer who designed the american invasion takes us from the bold early victories to the missed opportunities and the ongoing occupation. joining me now is the author of "88 days to kandahar." he was the cia chief of station for pakistan and afghanistan and later the cia's head of the iraq war operations and director of the counterterrorism center. robert, thank you very much for joining us. these 88 days go from 9/11 to the fall of the taliban capital in kandahar. start at the beginning for us if you can. what was the reaction in the islamabad cia station on the day of those attacks? >> well i think like a lot of other people we were watching it on the television and we were hoping against hope when the first plane struck the towers that that was just some horrible tragic error. when the second one hit, there was no question it was a terrorist attack and that it had to be bin laden and al qaeda behind it. now all the sudden we were in a situation of helping the u.s. government determine what it was
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they were going to do about it to solve this problem. >> robert you were instrumental in drafting the original invasion plan. how was the war supposed to go? >> well the war was supposed to go pretty much the way it went. what i like to call the first american afghan war. we had a very important decision to make at the outset. is the u.s. going to invade afghanistan in its own right and operation entirely on its own account, or were we going to aid those afghan patriots both in the north and south, who were willing to take the fight against al qaeda and the taliban and deny their country to be used as a terrorist safe haven. fortunately, we chose the latter. it was afghans in front, americans in support, operating behind. , there's that old saying that says every plane is good until the first shot is fired. when did you know that the war was going to be a lot longer than originally expected? >> well, as you mentioned, after the war was won or as we thought at the end of 2001 i went off
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to serve on iraq. i was the cia mission manager for iraq. it was only later, beginning in 2004 and 2005 that i returned to that particular fight in afghanistan and pakistan, this time as the head of counterterrorism at the cia. i made an extensive visit to pakistan and afghanistan. at that point, we could begin to see that the situation was starting to slip away from us. we could see that the taliban was beginning to reassert itself in significant parts of afghanistan. that's where i was very, very concerned that maybe this war was going to continue on much longer than any of us had thought. and in fact, that's what proved to be the case. >> robert hamid karzai the president who took over afghanistan after that u.s.-led invasion, for good or bad, certainly left his print on that country that summer. still reeling from today. was hamid karzai the u.s. wanted, or was he the leader you had to take? >> well i think both. he was a very attractive figure. he was one of only two
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significant tribal leaders in the south who took the war to the taliban and managed to help along with the help of one other principle leader to drive the taliban out of kandahar. he was a unifying leader for all of afghanistan and recognized by the entire international community. he was drafted essentially by a claim at the u.n. conference to be the first interim leader of afghanistan. i don't think there was any good alternative to hamid karzai at the time. >> jumping to the current government, what's your assessment of this new administration? a checkered past, to say the least. >> well, there are so many figures in afghanistan who have a checkered past. i think working with them we need to turn the page to try to build a new afghanistan. obviously, we've been at this for quite some time. and this new post-hamid karzai government is clearly struggling to claim its legitimacy and to
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assert its control throughout the country. they're not going to be able to do that entirely on their own. i think the u.s. needs to remain engaged. i'm very concerned about the fact that the u.s. having essentially tried to do too much in the years after 2005 i think, is making the serious mistake of compounding that error by doing too little. >> let's talk a little bit about the new focus, isis. do you think that the u.s. air war campaign is working? >> i think it's working as far as it can, but as general mccaffery and others have said it's only indigenous forces on the ground that can really win this struggle. very much as we were in afghanistan in the early days we need to be supporting forces on the ground that are trying to do the right thing and are trying to liberate their countries. but saying it and doing it are two very, very different things. >> robert thank you very much for that inside analysis. >> you're very welcome. and just in time for valentine's day, a book based on the popular website "40 days of dating.
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all right, friends out there. listen up. just in time for valentine's day, a new book that involves an ex ex experiment. can friendship turn into true love? "40 days of dates" authors join me now. timothy, let me start with you. in short, how did the experiment begin? >> she and i have been really good friends for about four or five years, and we always bonded over our opposite relationship problems. so in kind of light of an expeerm, we decided, you know, what would happen if we dated each other for 40 days as a way to kind of use ourselves as a catalyst to learn more about our habits and fears and relationships and if we could grow from that. >> jessica, i understand you set some ground rules before this started. in brief, what were the key ground rules, and why did you
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feel you needed to make them? >> well any good experiment has rules. so we set six for ourselves in the experiment. we had to see each other every day for 40 days gone on three dates a week. we had to keep separate diary entries about the dates. we had to see a couples therapist. and we also went on a weekend trip together. >> so timothy, talk us to about how the experiment evolved, the highs and lows of it. i could tell from your expression there that the couples therapy was probably not one of your favorite things to do. >> well, you know in a way it was pretty amazing because -- jessie and i are so close. so to go through therapy together, you have someone that can call you out on your problems and your issues and not let you kind of skate by. so in a way, it was very helpful. >> and jessica, did it turn out the way you expected it? did you fall in love? >> we did both fall in love towards the end of the experiment. however, on day 40 we ended up
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breaking off the relationship. >> timothy if you guys fell in love, why would you end a relationship? >> life is complicated, you know. sometimes these things -- you know, just because we love each other doesn't mean it's going to work out romantically. i think it's worked out great for the both of us. >> jessica, why do you think it ended? >> even though it didn't work out romantically, i think we both learned so much about love and dating. we're able to apply what we learned to our relationships afterwards. i think we both consider the experiment a success even though we're not together. >> are you now both in relationships? >> i actually just got married a couple months ago. >> congratulations. >> not to me. >> and timothy, how did you feel about her getting married? >> i'm very happy for her. i was at the wedding. it was a beautiful, small wedding in mexico. i'm very excited, and she found an amazing man. and it's all in the book. everything's in the book. everything that happened afterwards and how we came to where we're at now.
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>> do you have any regrets about it not working out? >> no no. >> absolutely not. no we're closer friends than ever. it's great. >> so let me ask you this. will we see a "40 days of dating" movie? if so who do you want to see play yourselves? >> well they're in the third round of the script right now. we optioned it to warner brothers. we'll see what happens. and jessica and i are currently involved in another kind of robust personal project. not dating each other. we'll launch that this summer. so we've continued as creative partners and good friends. >> but the most important question, jessica, who do you want to play you? >> i can never answer this question. you'll have to ask tim. >> all right. so let me ask you this. what's surprised you the most about some response to your story, both online and the book? >> we had millions and millions of people following the blog. afterwards, we had thousands of people write us about how much the story touched them or inspired them to date their best friend. in fact, i just ran into someone
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on the street yesterday in l.a. who said that they did the experiment with their friend and then got married afterwards. so it's pretty amazing to hear all this response. >> and my best friend greg in chicago, this experiment really pushed him to propose to his girlfriend after reading it. so it was really special. >> well guys thank you, both very much for inspiring love even though you're not together anymore. we certainly appreciate it. look forward to reading it. >> thank you. >> thanks for having us. boston is bracing. we're tracking the third major storm to hit new england in as many weeks. and massive flooding and now mudslides. the west coast is dealing with the worst of the so-called pine am express. ase. [ male announcer ] the wish we wish above all...is health. so we quit selling cigarettes in our cvs pharmacies. expanded minuteclinic for walk-in medical care. and created programs that encourage people to take their medications regularly. introducing cvs health. a new purpose.
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since we're going to be here anyway it's kind of a no brainer not again. a major winter storm bears down on new england that could dump another foot and a half of snow on the region. prayers for kayla. a family and community caught in the grips of the unknown. the fate of the only american
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hostage held by isis remains a mystery. deadly crash. former olympic champion bruce jenner gets caught up in a chain-reaction highway accident. police are trying to figure out what went wrong. and peace plan. why is the art world worried about what pablo picasso's granddaughter is doing with some of his precious works? hello, everyone. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." it's 1:00 in the east 10:00 out west. now here's what's happening. the northeast is preparing for another major snowstorm. boston still digging out from more than four feet of snow over the past two weeks. could see another two feet as the slow-moving storm could linger through tuesday. last night albany, new york felt the effects of the storm as snow moved in making travel treacherous on area highways and side roads. on the west coast, though, it's a different story.
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they need row boats not shovels. the pineapple express is wreaking africa on the pacific northwest. the weather system there has caused flooding mudslides, and power outages in california washington state oregon and nevada. another storm is expected to hit later today. new england is bracing for a wicked snowstorm that could drop up to 20 inches of snow. it's an area that's already been battered by a blizzard this winter. meteorologist keith carson from the weather channel has more from portland on the region's forecast. hey, keith. >> reporter: good afternoon, ayman. yeah, here in portland maine, continuing to see snow. it's light at the moment but it's the same story we've seen up and down the eastern seaboard, which is insult to injury. maine not a very urban place, but portland is relatively compact in nature. they're ending up with the same problem, which is a bunch of snow from these last storms, and then on top of that is what we're dealing with now.
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the amount of accumulation today, not a ton. a couple inches. the problem, the city trying to get the snow out of here so they can clean up and keep up with the roads. we don't think it's going to be ripping snow at any point during this system. but consistently snowing through the afternoon, through the evening, and then again through tomorrow before we get this thing out of here on tuesday. another facet of this story from up here in portland is that it's very cold. temperatures in the low teens, single digits with a strong northeast wind adding to a strongly feeling february that just keeps going with these storms. ayman? >> keith carson for us in portland, maine. thank you, keith. and parts of washington state are water logged after getting hammered by three days of torrential rain. the weather pattern nicknamed pineapple express dumped rain from washington to california. about 30 miles outside seattle it triggered floods small landslides pushing mud on to the roads. amtrak had to shut down some of its service. to the middle east now. 56 air strikes in just three
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days. that's the report from jordan as it retaliates for isis' brutal execution of its pilot. king abdullah now says that he's ordered his military commanders to prepare for around increased role in the ongoing war. today marks six months since the u.s.-led air strikes began. today britain's prince charles met with kinkg abdullah earlier. he visited the mass iive refugee camp. on "meet the press," secretary of state john kerry said the u.s. is seeing a significant impact from its war on isis. >> 22% of the populated areas that they held have been taken back already. that's without launching what we would call a major offensive. we have taken out a significant proportion of the top leadership of isis. their command and control facilities have been attacked. >> and whether members of isis are operating in the u.s. was a
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subject that came up in an interview with the department of homeland security's secretary jeh johnson during an interview this morning. he said it's less of a concern here in the u.s. than it is in europe. >> that we see are larger in european countries. that's one of the reasons why we're concerned about travel to and from europe and making sure that we have the appropriate security assurances from countries for which we do not require a visa. but here at home, we do a pretty good job of tracking these individuals. >> nbc's kristen welker is live for us at the white house. kristen, obviously secretary johnson there addressing the threat isis poses not only to the u.s. but elsewhere. what else did the secretary have to say? >> well secretary johnson pressing lawmakers to pass legislation that would keep dhs funded through the end of the month. the secretary arguing that if lawmakers failed to do that that could harm national security efforts, including the fight against isis.
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a little background on that ayman. funding runs out at the end of february. some republicans would like any legislation to be accompanyied by amendments that would block president obama's executive action on immigration. republicans feel as though he overstepped his authority with that executive action. of course president obama has said he will veto any legislation that attempts to block him on immigration. here's more of what secretary johnson had to say. take a listen. >> i'm on the hill every day stressing the importance of a fully funded department of homeland security, separate and apart from riders to try to defund our efforts to reform the immigration system. people in congress want to have that debate about immigration reform, let's have that debate. but don't tie that to funding public safety at homeland security for the american people. >> ayman this is a big battle that is brewing here in washington. i've been speaking to some republican lawmakers who say
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they're trying to work out some type of a fix that would appease the conservative branch of the party, allow them to vote on the president's immigration action for example, without having it be vetoed by the president. that's very tricky to do. this is potentially going to go down to the wire, but still a lot of pressure on both sides of the aisle to get something passed because it would be significant, would anger a lot of people if dhs ran out of funding at the end of the month. ayman, back to you. >> kristen welker live outside the white house in washington. police in california are investigating a deadly car crash involving bruce jenner. they say he was behind the wheel of an suv involved in a multivehicle crash yesterday in malibu where one woman was killed and seven others were injured. nbc's kristen dahlgren has been following that story for us. what's the latest on this ongoing investigation? >> hey there, ayman. at this point, it is an ongoing investigation. police are trying to get cell phone records of all the drivers that were involved trying to
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see if anyone may have been texting or on the phone at the time of the accident. we're also waiting to get those blood alcohol tests back. bruce jenner did voluntarily submit to a blood alcohol test presumably some of the other drivers may have been tested as well. he was given a field sobriety test, and police say he did pass it on the scene there. so their investigation continuing. what we know happened at this point is that it was a chain-reaction crash. the car in front of bruce jenner, a white lexus, hit the driver in front of them. bruce jenner then rear ended the white lexus, which spun out into oncoming traffic. that's when a black hummer came along with a family inside hit the white lexus. the driver of the lexus, unfortunately, was killed in the crash. the family that was inside the hummer was brought to the hospital. no other major injuries. bruce jenner not injured in this, but again, an ongoing investigation. they're looking at things like whether or not the paparazzi may have been involved. we've heard some reports.
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but police are saying they don't believe bruce jenner was making any evasive maneuvers at the time. >> kristen, and obviously this is a question that always comes up when celebrities are involved. police are saying the paparazzi weren't to blame, but they were on the scene right afterwards right? >> not just right afterwards but during. we were sent picture where is they actually have the moment of impact. so they were taking a series of photographs of bruce jenner driving. cars were moving slowly we're told, at that point. they actually catch the moment where he hits that white lexus. then there's video almost immediately after. we talked a little earlier, one of the things that struck me is that at that point, they're taking video instead of helping the woman who was inside the lexus. so, you know, really disappointing to see some of that. they were, at the very least, on the scene there. >> lots of questions to be answered. kristen dahlgren, thank you very much for that. we have plenty to talk to
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with former u.s. ambassador bill richardson, like the talks on iran isis and ukraine. plus the storm of controversy over the israeli prime minister's upcoming speech to congress. ambassador richardson joins us next. take a closer look at charmin ultra soft and you'll love what you see. not only can you use less, but you can actually see the softness in our comfort cushions. we all go. why not enjoy the go with charmin ultra soft? the future of the market is never clear. but at t. rowe price we can help guide your retirement savings. our experience is one reason 100% of our retirement funds beat their 10-year lipper averages. so wherever your long-term goals take you we can help you feel confident. request a prospectus or summary prospectus with investment information, risks, fees and expenses to read and consider carefully before investing. call us or your advisor. t. rowe price. invest with confidence. how much money do you have in your pocket right now? i have $40
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u.s. and coalition air strikes are taking a significant toll on isis in iraq and in syria, but in a new interview this morning former cia deputy director michael morel warned their victory is spreading. >> their victory has been the spread of their message, that's been faster than anything we've ever seen from al qaeda. now you have terrorist groups in algeria, in libya, and in egypt and increasingly in afghanistan who are taking on the isis brand. >> joining me now is former new
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mexico governor bill richardson who previously served as ambassador to the united nations, secretary of energy, and a former u.s. congressman. thank you very much ambassador. thank you for joining us this morning. a lot to talk about here. let's start with the latest in the battle against isis. do you see this new jordanian role as a turning point for this ongoing air campaign which until now has been mostly led by the united states? >> yes, i think that the militants made a serious mistake in that imlation of that jordanian pilot. the jordanians are an effective fighting force, especially their air force. the tribal religious factions in the middle east have been upset by this isis effort. and i think what has happened is they have made this an arab struggle, which is what we want mainly an arab issue. isis is a threat to us. we've led the coalition as we should.
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but now we have a very important partner in jordan. they're key. they're going to make a difference, i believe. >> you heard what the former cia deputy director said in that sound bite. do you think the message from isis is spreading around the world quicker than anything we can actually do to counter it at this point? >> well there's no question their efforts -- their bloody efforts are gaining. there's no question. this is why we need more than the 60 countries as part of this coalition. we need more than american and some european air strikes. this is why getting countries like turkey like saudi arabia like the united arab emirates active again with jordan and the united states and britain in those air strikes. it's going to be needed because effective military action hitting them right at their base at their command and control centers, is going to be
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key. but there's no question that they are gaining in followers. >> governor do you think that the jordanian reaction and concluding that it's a turning point has been overstated that some of these arab countries are still not really getting in the fight the way the united states wants them to? >> well it's early to tell but there's no question that the air campaign has intensified by jordan. they've got f-16s. they've got trained pilots. what has also happened is isis has upset a lot of the tribal the religious factions in the region in the middle east that's going to hurt them. jordan is related to the prophet muhammad. and this is going to be a real religious turning point, i believe, against isis. i think isis committed a very bad mistake in what they did with that jordanian pilot. >> governor let's switch gears and talk about the iran talks. you've been involved in some
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high-level negotiations throughout your career. today secretary of state john kerry met with the iranian foreign minister. he said that quote, we're reaching the point where it is quite possible to make a deal. even the ayatollah today in iran said that he would support a good -- a quote, good deal. do you expect them to make a deal by the end of the deadline this month? >> i'm not sure they will. i'm concerned about these negotiations. i want to see them through. i want to have a final outcome before i make any decision myself. i worry about three things. one, that it's not a complete degradation of iran's nuclear capabilities. it's a restriction. secondly i worry about iran's activity in the region. they're messing around all over the place. they captured an american marine american journalist. their behavior is -- they continue to threaten israel. you know i'm worried about us not wanting to make a quick deal
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rather than a good deal. >> and governor again, switching gears one more time the one person who's surely not hopeful for a deal is the israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. we've seen that kind of blow up in recent days with this invitation to come address congress. it may seem like typical washington in fighting but at the heart of it a much bigger issue. do you think there's going to be a long-term blowback to this? and as a former congressman, would you, in a situation like this boycott that speech? >> well i wouldn't have boycotted the speech but i'm very concerned about what prime minister netanyahu and the speaker did. they're politicizing a crucial security relationship between the u.s. and israel. they've disrespected president obama, who's our president. lastly, i think they've jeopardized the u.s.-israeli relationship for political gain. prime minister netanyahu has an election coming up. the speaker wants to get more votes from jewish voters which
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is not going to happen. it's about 80% democrat. so i think the best outcome would be if netanyahu and boehner cancel the speech for whatever reason. i wouldn't boycott it if i were a congressman because of my respect and commitment to israel. but this is a mess. and it should be turned off somehow. >> and if the prime minister does go ahead with this speech do you think the actual speech the optics of it may impact the u.s.-iran negotiations? could they actually derail them? >> well no they won't derail them because it's the executive branch, the state department with the iranians. but i think the iranians will say, well geez the congress seems to be welcoming an anti-iranian position. as i said i'm concerned about these negotiations. the congress should not intrude on the negotiations that the
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executive -- president is having with iran. they should vote on them eventually, i believe. and that is another concern i have not to submit them to congress. but i think this is a very dicey situation where domestic politics should never enter foreign policy. politics should stop at the water's edge. and this speech to congress has violated that. so i'm not very pleased with this outcome. i'm grad i'm here in santa fe new mexico, not dealing with these issues like i used to. >> governor, and let me get your thoughts quickly about the situation in ukraine. on wednesday, the leaders of germany, france russia, and ukraine are going to meet to continue the peace talks that have so far broken apart at every turn. with the death toll rising every day, in your eyes is there a diplomatic solution to this? and some have also been calling for within the u.s. to arm the ukrainian government with lethal aid. should the u.s. send lethal military aid to the ukrainian government?
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>> well i believe we're reaching that point. what we're really talking about is anti-tank missiles which is more than just defensive equipment. and i think that we're moving in that direction. what i do see, though is let's get diplomacy a last chance. get the russians to move out of eastern ukraine, a cease-fire. this is the french-german plan. it's kind of on life support, but let's give it a shot. otherwise, economic sanctions should continue. but they don't seem to be deterring the russian president. so this is another situation where let's put diplomacy, give it a strong push but again, we're going to have to look at some defensive equipment possibly for the ukrainians. i think it's reaching a point where they not only need it although they're outnumbered, but it would bolster the diplomatic efforts to try to get the russians out of eastern ukraine.
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>> governor bill richardson, thank you very much for all that inside analysis, sir. he was a legend in the world of sports and beyond. we'll remember an american hero coming up next. there comes a time in everyone's life when you want more. like a new meticulously engineered german sedan. finely crafted. exactingly precise. desire for such things often outpaces one's means. until now. hey matt, new jetta? yeah. introducing lots of new. the new volkswagen jetta. isn't it time for german engineering? ♪ turn around ♪ ♪ every now and then i get a little bit hungry ♪ ♪ and there's nothing good around ♪ ♪ turn around, barry ♪ ♪ i finally found the right snack ♪ [ female announcer ] fiber one. the world is filled with air. but for people with copd sometimes breathing air can be difficult. if you have copd, ask your doctor about once-daily
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legalzoom. legal help is here. the world of sports is mourning a coaching legend and a great american. former university of north carolina men's basketball coach dean smith has died. smith retired as the winningest coach in college basketball history, leading the tarheels from 1961 to 1997. along the way, his teams won two national championships, the first championship team starred none other than future nba hall of famer michael jordan. smith is also remembered as a man who helped end racial segregation. and two years ago, he was bestowed with the presidential med dpal of honor. dean smith was 83 years old. it's a weather pattern that's getting the worst of new england. another major storm is about to deliver a big blow. the latest coming up next. also what's in a name when it comes to your street? the answer could mean big bucks
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welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." i am ayman mohyeldin. now headlines at the half. hundreds of people have gathered in tokyo earlier today to honor two japanese hostages killed by isis terrorists. japan has responded to new isis threats by ordering tighter security at airports and japanese facilities overseas including embassies and schools. a volcano in guatemala has erupted and sent ash and rock over surrounding towns. no areas have been evacuated yet, but the guatemalan government urged people to take shelter and know the possible routes for evacuation. and in hollywood, the movie "birdman" is flying high after it won the best director honor at last night's director's guild awards. the northeast is preparing for another major snowstorm. boston still digging out from more than four feet of snow over the past two weeks, could see nearly two feet of snow in the coming hours. the slow-moving storm could
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linger through tuesday. last night albany, new york, felt the effects of the storm as snow moved in making travel treacherous on area highways and side roads. alex wallace from the weather channel joins us with the latest. alex, what can we expect from this storm? >> good sunday to you, ayman. as we continue to follow our winter storm backing us here in the northeast, cold air that's locked in place. we'll see this system sliding its way slowly as it works its way toward the east coast. eventually it works off the coast, but it'll spread moisture in. we have that cold air in place. that's where we'll see the snow. watch out parts of pennsylvania un up through new england. let's take you through and show you the timing. more snow in some of these spots along that new york state throughway. the mass pike as well. we'll have to watch out. northern p.a. into even new york city freezing rain could become an issue. then we'll keep that snow going again. generally north of pennsylvania that's where we'll keep the snow ongoing. these are some of the spots that
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could see a foot to a foot and a half of more additional snow. we're sick and tired of it. if you want to beat it head to the middle of the countries. these are some of the areas enjoying warmth. spring fever in some spot including denver for our today into tomorrow. back to you. >> the weather channel's alex wallace. thank you very much. new today, a statement is expected later this afternoon from a spokesperson for the family of kayla mueller, the 26-year-old aid worker from prescott arizona, who has been held captive by isis militants in syria since august 2013. isis claims mueller was killed in an air strike by jordanian aircraft, but u.s. officials have not confirmed the isis claim. residents of her hometown though, have expressed hope. >> i just hope that, you know, it could be possible she's still alive. >> i'm sure that the family is reeling for answers and the community as well. >> mueller's parents are not spoken publicly, but they issued a statement friday saying they're still hopeful kayla is
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alive. today in baghdad, celebrations in the streets. for the first time in ten years, the nightly curfew was lifted. there was dancing in the streets, families driving and waving the iraqi flag. a real hint of normalcy. but the war zone realities remain just under the surface. just yesterday, at least 40 people were killed in bombings across the city. joining me again is nbc news chief foreign correspondent richard engel, who spent nearly the entire war on ground in iraq. richard, i guess the question that many of us who have actually been in iraq are asking is this just a pr move from the new administration or is the situation really improving enough? >> reporter: i think it's absolutely a pr move. it's actually shocking if you think about it. the idea of relaxing security in baghdad, it's good you show the people they should feel better they should go out and shop they should be confident in their future. but there's nothing that they can see on the ground that would
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give them any indication that things are better. you mentioned there was that attack or series of attacks yesterday in baghdad. that happens all the time in iraq, all the time in the iraqi capital. the new government has passed a series of measures with the idea of establishing some sort of normalcy in baghdad. they made it illegal to carry weapons in cars. they made it illegal to drive with tinted windows, made till legal to drive in car that doesn't have a license plate. all of that understandable, all of that very acceptable if you want to show you're establishing law and order. but there are still car bombs in baghdad. there are still armed shiite militiamen that drive in cars without license plates in cars with tinted windows all the time right through police check points. so people in baghdad justifiably are celebrating this gesture by
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the government but i think it is just that. i think it is just a gesture that is not reflective of a real change in the iraqi capital. >> richard, over the years baghdad has changed. its demographics have changed as a result of fighting. there was a major concern isis was going to launch some kind of push to try to, you know attack baghdad. is there any sense that the sectarian fighting that has, you know, gripped baghdad for many years has subsided, has it shifted away because of this new fight with isis? is that still a problem for the capital? >> reporter: it's a problem for the country. there are two main forces in baghdad or in the iraqi government sphere of influence that are fighting against isis. there's the iraqi security forces, the police the border patrols, the army. and then there is a group coalition of shiite militia groups that are known
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collectively as the popular front or the popular assault. and that is perceived nationwide as a sectarian force closely backed by iran and that is a force that is dominant in baghdad. in some cases, this shiite my la that coalition is stronger than the official iraqi security forces. so any suggestion that baghdad or iraq has moved beyond its sectarian divide is fantasy. i think if anything the crisis that iraq is facing right now is a result of the sectarian tensions and making the tensions even worse. >> nbc's chief foreign correspondent richard engel, thank you very much. the calls for israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu to cancel his speech before congress continue to get louder this afternoon. now the head of the anti-defamation league a group dedicated to stopping the
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defamation of jewish people, is weighing in saying the controversy around the speech isn't helpful. according to "the huffington post," quote, it has been hijacked by politics. now is a time to recalibrate, restart, and find a new platform and new timing to take away the distractions, end quote. of course, this comes as several democrats are saying they will boycott the speech. even vice president joe biden won't be attending due to traveling abroad. joining me now msnbc contributor robert trainham and democratic strategist chris kofi nas. i may have spoken out too early about the vice president there. chris, what would you advise democrats to do in a situation like this? should they boycott the speech? >> it's a tough call. i was listening to ambassador richardson earlier. i would not necessarily suggest that they boycott. i mean what i would hope would
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happen is that the prime minister netanyahu and his office speaker boehner would go to it the white house and figure that this is not the right way to do this. you don't have a head of state come give a speech before congress in a way that basically alienates the white house and the president of the united states. that's not something you do. at the same time f they decide to go through it i think every member has got to make their own decision in terms of what is best. this is a critical ally. this is a critical relationship. you don't want to add fuel to the fire. unfortunately what's happened here is, you know speaker boehner and the prime minister have made this political when it need not be. this is not something that needs to be a political thing. but it's become extremely political. >> robert here's what the ap wrote about this. quote, some gleeful republicans predicted democrats' complaints about benjamin netanyahu's march 3rd speech will drive jewish voters to the gop.
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is this simply a political strategy that could favor republicans if you have a large number of democrats skipping this speech? >> i'm not sure it's really about politics per se. i do think it's about personality. look, the reality is quite unfortunately, that prime minister netanyahu and president obama do not have the best relationship. this goes back almost six years. so the reality is that prime minister netanyahu feels as though he had to bypass the white house in order to address the congress which is very, very unfortunate. i agree with chris. it's very awkward. this is not how things are supposed to happen when it comes to head of state to head of state relations. the reality is we are in this reality. so i don't think democrats should boycott the speech. i do not think that it's about politics. but i do think it's about personalities. the reality is that i think if both sides had to do it all over again, meaning the white house and prime minister netanyahu, i think they would hit a reset on the relationship because it really is frayed. it really is ego driven. the reality is it shouldn't be this way. it's very sad. to your second point, very
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quickly, i don't think that thousands, if not millions of jewish americans will flock to the republican party but i think they'll look at this relationship a little differently. the reality is that it is strained here. i'm still probably going to vote democrat, but i am going to look at some republican policies a little differently. >> let's switch gears a little gentlemen, to the president's speech earlier this week. president obama at the national prayer breakfast. he took a lot of heat over some of his comments. here's some of what he had to say. >> unless we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the crusades and inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of christ. in our home country, slavery and jim crow all too often was justified in the name of christ. >> chris, is the criticism the
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president's getting here warranted? >> no. the reality here is i think if you listen to what the president said and you actually are honest about the situation -- listen this is a very difficult topic. but the argument and making the point that religion and faith has been used over the course of history, you know, to justify terrible acts of violence and that's what's analogous today with those who are using islam in a radical way to justify their violence. i mean i think he was trying to make a point that let's not, you know condemn a faith that billions of people believe in follow peacefully because of the violent acts of a few. and i think that's an important point to make. it's a very difficult, sometimes uncomfortable argument to make but one i think that the president has tried very
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passionately to communicate. again, this is a sensitive -- he wasn't trying to make -- draw analogies that these are equal but to make people understand the point of what he's trying to say in terms of how faiths do end up being used unfortunately in terrible ways. >> robert, here's what ruth marcus wrote about the president's critics. she wrote instead, they seem drawn to overstate to detect insult to americans and an mouse towards the united states where none exists. this reaction says more about obama's critics and their inability to accept his legitimacy than it does about the president. does she have a point? are the president's critics unfairly trying to paint his words as being insulting to americans and suggesting he has an mouse towards the country? did you take them that way? >> to a certain degree yes. i understand what she's trying to say. i understand what the president was trying to say as well. here's the problem. the problem is look factually and historically the president is absolutely correct.
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that religion has used in the name of slavery, in the name of the crusades and so forth. the issue really is that any time you use the word crusade, especially in the context of the middle east, you have to be very, very very careful, and you have to give broad context as to what you're trying to say or the picture you're trying to paint. the issue is that i'm not sure the president did that in that sentence there. it would be one thing if he was giving a big presidential speech and gave broad context as to what he was trying to say. to say that in front of evangelicals and religious lead leaders in washington, d.c. in just a sentence, i'm not sure he did justice to the point he was trying to make. >> thank you for joining me this afternoon. the term street value is taking on a new meaning thanks to a new study on street names. we'll see what this sign language means for your home. and what would the legendary pablo picasso think about what his granddaughter may do with some of his precious works? some in the art world may not be happy about it at all. we'll explain. r me, and i love it.
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the name of your street could have a big impact on the value of your home. an article in "the new york times" says that on average, homes on named streets are 2% more valuable than those on numbered streets. stan humphries is the chief economist for zillow.com and the article's co-writer spencer rascoff. they also wrote a new book. stan humphries joins me now. thank you very much, stan, for this very insightful article. you wrote that you learned three things. names are better than numbers, lanes are better than streets, unusual names are better than common ones. how did you go about researching this? >> well, yeah we were really excited to take the treasure-trove of data that we've accumulated over the past ten years and really kind of apply facts and data to answering essential questions about real estate because we feel like for so long real estate has been this area where people's actions have been governed more by myths and
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hunches and not real facts and data. we were interested in applying that. street names is one of those ones where we did that. we looked at -- took the database and looked at home values relative to places that are on named streets versus numbered streets. we found generally you're going to get about 2% more value on named streets than numbered streets. you're going to get 20% to 30% more value in places like san francisco or philadelphia where there's less of a difference in places like atlanta and new york. actually, denver was the only metro we looked at where it was flipped. numbered treated were more valuable. >> you also wrote homes on streets named, you know, with lake average 16% more than national median home value. but you warn that it may not be a direct correlation. can you get into more about that for us? >> right. yeah the places like -- names like lake and sunset or ocean view, those are names that actually -- the reason they have the value is there is because they're describing something about the context of the street.
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so they're on a lake or looking over the ocean. and this isn't, you know, causation. if you were to pop up a home on a named street it's not necessarily going to be more valuable than one on a numbered street. it's really showing you the revealed patterns that have occurred in metropolitan areas over the past 20 years where because of where people are putting homes, places that are named streets tend to have a higher premium. often times, that's because the named streets are some of the first streets in these metropolitan areas and have more of a premium to start with. >> in your research have you seen cities and towns begin to change their street names to boost image and value of homes? >> no we have not yet seen people make those changes. we did, actually in that chapter talk about how easy it is to change your street name. it's pretty straightforward if you can get everyone on your street to agree to it to change your street name. but no we haven't seen any wholesale movement of people changing their namestreet names. >> what about suffixes like
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drive and boulevard? are they affecting value? >> definitely. basically, everything about your street name is sending a signal about the potential value of those -- of your house. so places like lanes and ways and courts generally have fewer homes on them. they're more expensive homes. and they're built more recently. places like streets and roads have the most homes on them and typically have the lowest amount of value. we actually did a lot of deep diving into specific numbers. for example, having 666 in your address, which is commonly thought of as a satanic numbers, homes sell for 3% less if you have that number in your street address. or a lucky number like 777, which we thought was going to be great because that's a jackpot number in las vegas. turns out that sells for about 1.2% less. so good numbers were thipgs like 316, which is a reference to the biblical verse john 3:16. >> how much of this is driven by people's perception or the actual values of the homes on those streets in your data?
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should it affect the way people buy homes? >> yeah no i think in that chapter we're looking at reveal preferences. that's not causal. the homes we've built, as we were building up our neighborhoods over the past 50 years, where did value go? and should you do a kitchen home improvement project before you do a bathroom? everyone says kitchens are the best. we looked at the data it. turns out kitchen is not the best. >> very interesting research there. stan humphries, thank you for that insight. >> thank you. the once impoverished granddaughter of pablo picasso is putting some of his works on the market. we'll show you why that's worrying some of the world's art dealers coming up next. next. ♪♪ expected wait time: 55 minutes.
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there are new concerns in the art world and beyond over a possible sale of thousands of works by the late artist pablo
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picasso. the art is owned by picasso's 64-year-old granddaughter, marina picasso. she owns about 10,000 picasso works. she's said to be selling some of the art to finance her philanthropic goals. but her unconventional sales approach is reverberating through art markets, worrying dealers and auctioneers. an incredible story. why the concern about the possible sale? >> well what people are saying that there's potentially enough work here including 300 paintings among those 10,000 works that she could actually sort of flood the market and depress prices. i don't think that's actually hit, however, because it's really not in her interest to want to flood the market. she's said she's going to continue doing what she's been doing for quite some time and that's selling off works piece by piece, to fund her philanthropic efforts. that's likely what's going to
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continue. >> it's widely known that marina was not fond of her grandfather. the relationship she detailed in her memoir "picasso: my grandfather." can her move be seen as more than just way to raise money, is there something personal here? >> well there's probably a lot of psychological speculation. she's been very open and been through years and years of therapy. but i think she was actually fairly pragmatic about it. she's unsentimental about this work. she said she came from a famous family, but it wasn't a loving family. there are tales that when she inherited this work, which in many ways came as a surprise she was not close to her grandfather, that she turned the paintings to the walls. but at this point, she's being pretty straight forward. she's selling this work because she wants to continue good works in places like vietnam and needs the money to fund those operations. >> how much money are we talking about here? 10,000 pieces of art or pieces of work that picasso left behind. what could marina's collection be worth at this point? >> right, that's always the question. and i have to confess, i'm not
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an art dealer so i don't really know. and not many people would know because in fact a lot of this work simply we don't know what's in it what is actually among those 10,000 pieces. but i was thinking this morning, i did a back of envelope calculation. if one were to assume that most of those 10,000 works were works that were sort of parts of larger series, so the prices would be relatively low, and let's say the paintings are not selling in those astronomical ranges like we saw, $104 million, $106 million a few years ago, even though we're still talking hundreds of millions of dollars. >> so could a mass sale reduce the monetary value of other picasso works that are already owned and are already out there on the market? >> i guess theoretically, it could. again, it's not really in her interest to do that. and she's not naive about this. but, you know, i was thinking as an art critic i love see art in museums. i don't particularly care whether it gets collected. so if it depressed prices for a while, maybe some of the work could actually migrate towards
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public institutions and that wouldn't a bad thing. >> phillip, thank you very much for that fascinating story. we'll see how it all plays out in the art world. that wraps up this sunday edition of "weekends with alex witt" stay with us for breaking news. up next, "meet the press." go pro with crest pro-health. it's specially formulated for an intensive clean. it's great. i can really feel it deep cleaning my mouth. for a clean that's 4x better try these crest pro-health products together. my hygienist is going to love this. crest pro-health protects all these areas dentists check most. go pro, with crest pro-health i knew i was going to nail it. yep, i did! the exhilaration of a new engine. painstakingly engineered without compromise. to be more powerful... and, miraculously, unleash 46 mpg highway. an extravagance reserved for the privileged few. until now. hey josh! new jetta?
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to make your enterprise more agile, borderless and secure. hp helps business move on all the possibilities of today. and stay ready for everything that is still to come. this sunday, crises from isis to iran to ukraine. >> president putin's got to make the decision to take the off ramp. >> the obama administration calls for strategic patience. my exclusive interview with secretary of state john kerry. also, the measles outbreak. the debate over government mandates like vaccines for children, is personal liberty being denied in the name of the public good? >> mandating vaccines opens up the door for them to mandate all sorts of other things. what my child eats. where my child goes to school. >> what violence in the name of the religion, as the world reacts with horror to the
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